Lay of the Land
Crete is a vast and amazingly diverse island. From the snow-capped peaks of the White Mountains to miles of pristine golden sands on the southern coast, this island really does have it all. Traditional mountain villages and dramatic ravines like the Samaria Gorge attract hikers year round. But beach-lovers are guaranteed great weather from April to October on Greece’s southernmost island.
The capital Heraklion is a bustling, unlovely city –the only real attraction is the extraordinary Archaeological Museum, which reopened in June 2014 after an 8-year renovation. The five-star resorts are clustered around Elounda and Ayios Nikolaos on the northeastern coast. Western Crete is more suited for independent travellers, with its family-run hotels and hilltop villages that have barely changed for decades. The regional capital is Chania, with an enchanting Old Town behind the Venetian harbor. Falasarna and Elafonissos on the western coast are among the island’s best beaches. With few roads connecting north and south, the southern coast is beautifully unspoiled.
When to Go
Crete is one of the windiest Greek Isles, and the best time to visit is June or September.